Federal homeless funds coming

Officials with the County of Kaua‘i could see a share of over $6.6 million in federal funds to assist those among the island’s homeless population, federal leaders said.

Leaders of thousands of local programs who work to house and serve homeless persons, from emergency shelters and transitional housing projects to permanent supportive housing programs, will receive $1.33 billion in funding through grants announced recently by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

Included in the funding announced is $6,614,712 to support 25 programs throughout Hawai‘i, expected to provide critically-needed assistance to persons and families living without a home of their own, he said.

“Today, we take another step along the road toward that day when we end chronic homelessness on our streets,” said Jackson.

“The funding we announce today will help to provide homes and vital services to those who need them the most, persons and families who deserve a place they can call home.” HUD funding is provided in two ways:

• Continuum of Care programs whose leaders provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons. In addition, continuum grants fund important services including job training, health care, mental-health counseling, substance-abuse treatment, and child care, Jackson explained;

• Emergency Shelter Grants convert buildings into homeless shelters, assist in the operation of local shelters, and fund related social-service and homeless-prevention programs.

Combined, HUD’s Continuum of Care and Emergency Shelter Grant programs provide critically- needed funding to nearly 5,000 local programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, he continued.

For a more detailed local summary of the funding announced recently, please visit HUD’s Web site, www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/homeless/chronic.cfm.

Nearly $6 million in Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to Hawai‘i programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients.

Continuum grants fund a wide variety of programs, from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families.

Emergency Shelter Grants are allocated based on a formula to state and local governments to create, improve and operate emergency shelters for homeless persons.

These funds may also support essential services including job training, health care, drug/alcohol treatment, childcare and homelessness prevention activities.

By helping to support emergency shelter, transitional housing and need support services, Emergency Shelter Grants are designed to move homeless persons away from a life on the street, toward permanent housing, Jackson explained.

For nearly five years, HUD leaders have increasingly emphasized President Bush’s goal of ending chronic homelessness through assistance programs.

Research indicates that approximately 10 percent of all homeless persons experience long-term or chronic homelessness, he added.

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